Tim and I are looking at something on the iPad and Gwen recognizes a meme with Disney Princesses in it.

Gwen: “Elsa! Elsa!”

Me: “Yep, that’s Elsa.”

Gwen: “Ariel! Cindewella! -No White!”

Me: “…you’ve never seen Snow White…”

At this point I realize she can name all the Disney princesses, regardless of whether she’s seen the films. This gets me thinking…

Me: “Gwen, what color is Ariel’s hair?”

Gwen: “Yewwo!”

Me: “It’s red! See? Red! What color is our bed?”

Gwen: “Um, bed!”

Me: “Yeah, it’s yellow. Ohhhkay, I think we’re going to spend a little more time with your colors and a little less time with the iPad tomorrow.”

lunch at chez ellie

Ellie: “Mama! Do you want to play restaurant?”

Me: “Sure!”

Ellie: “OK. I’ll take your order. Umm… we have pancakes, sausage, eggs, coleslaw… and beef.”

Me: “Ooh, can I get some pancakes? With beef on top?”

Ellie: “Sure! But the sausage won’t be ready for a few minutes.”

Me: “Oh, I wanted beef, not sausage.”

Ellie: “Well, there’s not a lot of beef left, and I’m going to give it to the next people who come into the restaurant. But you can have sausage!”

Me: … “But I don’t want sausage! I wanted beef.”

Ellie: “OK! What’s your name?”

Me: “Caroline.”

Ellie: “And your middle initial?”

Me: “Why do you need my middle initial?”

Ellie: “It’s for your order!”

Me: “Uhh, it’s ‘E’.”

Ellie: “OK, and what’s your telephone number?”

Me: “555-5555… why do you need my telephone number?”

Ellie: “And your address?”

Me: “Uh. 555 Some Road.”

Ellie: “Annnd… how many monies do you have?”

Me: “Huh?”

Ellie: *sigh* “Mama, I need to know if you have enough money for your food. If not, you have to leave the restaurant. Only people who have enough money can eat at this restaurant.”

Me: “Well jeez. I have thirty dollars, is that enough?”

Ellie: “Perfect! I’ll put your order in.”

(Ellie doesn’t move.)

Me: “Great!”

Ellie: “You’re a really good customer, Mama! But some people over there aren’t good customers. They’re throwing food. I had to kick them out of my restaurant.”

Me: “Oh, that’s not good, huh?”

Ellie: “Yeah. They didn’t have enough monies, and they were throwing food, so I had to Duct Tape the door so they can’t get in.”

Me: “… you mean I’m Duct Taped into your restaurant?”

Ellie: “Yeah! Cause you’re one of the good customers!”

Me: “… lucky me. So, when will my food be ready?”

Ellie: “After it’s cooked.”

Me: “Of course.”

(At this point, I can’t stop laughing.)

Ellie: “MAMA! There’s NO laughing in my restaurant!”

Me: “Oh! Sorry.”

Ellie: “We don’t laugh in restaurants, Mama, that’s not nice.”

Me: “Y’know, I’m starving; do you think my pancakes are ready?”

Ellie: “Mmm, not yet. Hey! Can I watch a show?”

Me: “… sure.”

This little game of pretend turned decidedly Misery-like. I never did get my food.

puppy or toddler

It’s time for everyone’s favorite game show… Puppy or Toddler!

Puppy or Toddler?

Hello, folks, I’m your host, Alan Finchmore, and this is Puppy or Toddler, the game show where you try to guess whether the named behavior is that of a puppy or a toddler. It’s harder than you’d think!

Our three contestants are ready to go, so let’s get started with our first question…

Host: Who ripped up tissues and spread them all over the house while I took a shower this morning? Contestant #2?

Contestant #2: The puppy!

Host: Sorry, you are incorrect — that was the toddler, though I’m sure the puppy would have helped if he could. Next question! Who regularly picks up random stuff off the ground and chews on it — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #3: Uh, the puppy?

Host: I’m sorry, that is incorrect — the answer we were looking for was, “the toddler”. Good thing she’s had her tetanus shot, am I right folks? Hah-hah! Moving on! Last night, who woke up at 11 p.m. and howled in her bed, loud enough to wake up the neighborhood — puppy or toddler? Contestant #1?

Contestant #1: What is “the puppy”, Alan!

Host: Relax, Contestant #1, this isn’t Jeopardy. And I’m sorry, that is wrong. The correct answer is “both of them, at the same time.” Wow, you guys really suck at this — hah-hah! OK, next question: Who ate a piece of three-day-old cheddar found underneath the couch — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #1: Oh, gross. It’s gotta be the puppy, right?

Host: Sorry, no, that was actually the preschooler. Trick question, hah-hah! She should know better, amirite? Oh well. Let’s play again: Who regularly gets tangled in her leash during her morning walk — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #2: Umm… I hope it’s the puppy.

Host: I’m sorry, that’s incorrect. Hah-hah, just kidding! Who would put a leash on a toddler? That’s crazytalk! Yes, Contestant #2, you’re correct! Next question: Who is most likely to play with the Ms. Princess Wets-her-Pants doll — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #1: The toddler?

Host: Oooh, so close, it’s actually the puppy… the toddler’s favorite toy is a Kong full of peanut butter. Sorry. On to our next question: Who peed on the kitchen floor and tracked it through the house — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #2: Uhh… the toddler?

Host: Correct! You’re catching on! Alas, it seems we’ve run out of time. Looking at the final score, congratulations, Contestant #2 — you’ve won Puppy or Toddler! What’s her prize, Jim?
Announcer: Congratulations, Contestant #2! You’ve won your choice of… a puppy or a toddler!

Contestant #2: Umm, I think I’ll take the puppy, Alan.

Host: Excellent choice, excellent! Well, that’s all for today, folks! We’ll see you next time on Puppy or Toddler, the game show that doubles as birth control!

Don’t forget to read to your puppies, and have your toddlers spayed or neutered. Have a good night!

Cause and Effect

Gwen is shaking her head rapidly back and forth at the dinner table.

Ellie: “Gwen! Don’t shake your brains! Your seat buckle will come undone and you’ll fall out of your chair and bang your head on the floor! Then the oven door will fall open and you’ll fly into the oven and get all fried up! You don’t want to get all fried up, do you, Gwen?”

how to make a cupcake costume the lazy way (aka no-sew)

(If you’re looking for actual instructions, you may want to click this link.)

Ellie's cupcake costume (licking the spoon)I have this annoying aversion to buying Halloween costumes.

Annoying, because that puts the burden of effort on me to make something, since the kids are too young to make their own.

Annoying, because I will spend just as much (if not more) on supplies to make said costumes than I would on a mass-manufactured, made-in-China number.

Annoying, because the kids could care less about the costume as long as they get candy.

In other words, this is a neurosis of my own making, and I know it.

Unfortunately for this neurosis, I don’t sew. I don’t even craft, when it comes down to it. Last year I basically glued some felt onto plain-color clothes and that worked.

Side note: Ellie kept telling everyone I was going to crochet a Halloween costume this year — not only for her, but for Gwen, myself, and Tim. I’ve never crocheted in my life, but I’m glad she still has that kind of faith in me.

Originally, Ellie wanted to go as Rapunzel from Tangled, and I was thisclose to buying the costume dress and calling it good. But then she asked if Gwen could go as Pascal, which started a frustrating chain of events that led to a new plan: Ellie and Gwen would both go as cupcakes, and I would make the costumes.

I have a tendency to approach these things full speed, head-on, with little planning and big expectations. Anyone remember my infamous gingerbread house experiment?

So, here’s how you, too, can make an adorable cupcake costume the lazy way, no sewing required. I can’t promise your kid will still talk to you when this is done, though.

How to make a cupcake costume, sanity not included

Gwen's costume from the front1) Don’t use a pattern — that would make too much sense. No, just take rough measurements of your kids while they’re squirming around — even better if they’re naked and coated in Crisco — and follow the detailed instructions that sound so simple in your head.

2) Buy fleece fabric at the store. Eyeball it, because you’re not using a pattern, so you don’t know how much you actually need. You have the money, why not waste it?

2a) Buy fancy, $9-a-tube fabric glue at the store, after being assured by the saleslady it will work. Get it home, realize it takes 24 hours to dry — screw that. Plug in the trusty glue gun.

2b) Also buy scissors, since you don’t have any that are sharp enough to cut through tissue paper, let alone fleece.

3) Attempt the hat design first, because it’s simple, in theory. Overcomplicate it by cutting out a series of isosceles triangles and spend an hour and a half gluing them together. Realize later you could have Googled “no-sew fleece hat” and been done in ten minutes. You barely have enough fabric for the second hat now. Feck.

4) Move on to the frosting part. Don’t make the smaller, easier infant costume first — that would be silly! Go big! So big, in fact, that you size the costume for a ten-year-old instead of a three-year-old!

5) Experiment with sizing. Bully your three-year-old into trying on multiple variations of the frosting to get the measurements right. If you have difficulty with this, bribe her with TV and candy.

Gwen's cupcake costume from the back6) Using a large needle, thread yarn through the outer edge of the cupcake frosting to gather it. Yarn will break and fray after you’ve spent half an hour with this. At this point, your significant other may want to bring the children upstairs, “until it’s safe to be around Mama again.”

7) Brilliance ensues. Substitute the frayed yarn for a spare shoelace! You are a crafting genius! Children are allowed to return to the room, Mama no longer a threat.

8) Cut out sprinkle shapes from colored pieces of felt and hot-glue them to the surface of the cupcake. DO NOT DO THIS WHILE YOUR CHILD IS WEARING THE COSTUME. Especially if she’s still coated in Crisco. Ahem.

9) Realize the frosting piece is stupidly huge. Cut it back to a manageable size, re-thread the shoelace for the third time.

10) Cut out a rectangle from the brown fleece, and poke holes along the top. Realize you have to re-thread the shoelace for the fourth time to connect the frosting and the base. Cry.

11) Put it all together. Force your child to try it on “just one more time.” (You may have to promise her a pony.) Put $20 in the therapy jar for good measure.

12) Step back. OMFG it looks like a cupcake! You did it! Now, where is the awards committee? What do you mean there isn’t an awards committee?!? Disappointed.

13) Realize this took five hours and you still need to make another costume. Cry.

Continue reading “how to make a cupcake costume the lazy way (aka no-sew)”

The highlight of my morning…

Let me set the scene:

Ellie is supposed to be getting into the shower where Tim is bathing Gwen, who is covered in poop.

I am frantically running around with wet rags and a can of Resolve in an effort to remove said poop from the white carpet in Ellie’s room before it stains.

(Yes, I am an asshole for having white carpet installed in a home with two young children and three cats. Let’s just set that aside for the moment, shall we?)

Ellie gets curious and goes to check out Gwen’s masterpiece, as I’m rinsing out the rags for the third time.

Ellie: “MAMA! Come look!!”

Me: “I know, Ellie, she pooped in your bedroom, I know. I’m cleaning it up, hold on.”

Ellie: “No, Mama, come look!”

Me: *sigh* “What?!?”

Ellie, beside herself with excitement, gestures to one of the stains on the carpet.

Ellie: “Mama! Look! It’s a POOP STAR!!!”

I look down and sure enough, at my feet I see a recognizably star-shaped blob of poop.

Leave it to Ellie to find immense joy in the little things.

(Also, Gwen is fine and happy as a clam; it’s just a stomach bug. A really messy stomach bug.)